There’s one aspect of long distance running that bothers me on a weird level. Marathon runners can not donate blood. It’s not a great idea for marathon runners to donate because it takes several weeks for oxygen levels in the blood to return to normal, and at that reduced level, running long distance is dangerous if not impossible. (Normal people can return to work or school immediately, but endurance athletes are a different scenario entirely.)
So what can you do if you can not donate blood and you want to fulfil your civic duties? You can join the National Bone Marrow Registry. Better yet, convince your roommates/family/co-workers to join with you. Joining is quick and painless. Will and I joined years ago. We just showed up at a registry drive and filled out a quick paperwork followed by a cheek swab. That’s it! We’ll remain in the registry until we age out, which will be almost 40 years.
If there is not a registration event in your area, you can request a kit. They will send it to your house, you will swab your own cheek, and send it back. It’s that easy. My mom once convinced all her co-workers to join with her, and they sent someone to the office to swab cheeks.
Only 1 in every 540 people will actually donate, and in the 4+ years we’ve been in the registry, Will and I have never received a call. The odds of being selected after age 44 decrease dramatically, so don’t wait. Join today, and convince your friends and colleagues to join with you. The more donors are in the registry, the better the chances of finding a match. Join and you might save a life!